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Three days after the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive line was called into question, Leonard Fournette goes and has the game of his life.
Through the first three weeks of the 2019 campaign, the third-year running back rushed for a combined 179 yards. Head coach Doug Marrone attributed his lackluster start to the O-line "not giving him a chance" given their poor blocking and inability to create gaps for the powerful back to rip through.
Against a formidable Broncos front-line who, despite their poor start, boasts devasting defenders in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, Fournette, with the help of that same O-line, broke through and accumulated a career-high 225 yards. Fournette, who said it was "very frustrating" being out of sync with his blockers, was singing their praises at the podium post-game.
"I'm happy," Fournette told reporters. "It's just one start. We've got plenty more games to go. During practice, we took our time out to try to fix the running game and we came out and we were successful."
Fournette added that his mentality coming into Week 4 was all about "making one guy miss, not letting one guy tackle you," something he did in spades on the left side of the line of scrimmage. According to Next Gen Stats, 15 of his 29 carries were wide left of the LOS for 179 yards. His biggest play of the day was an 81-yard rush, the second-longest of his career, that came on, you guessed it, that side of the field.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens was fuming in the aftermath of a skirmish between Odell Beckham Jr. and Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
"I saw what you saw," Kitchens told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. "He was getting choked on the ground. They get away with that because it's Odell. I'm going to be on the phone with Al (Riveron) when I get on the bus."
Late in the third quarter of the Browns' 40-25 win in Baltimore, a scuffle ensued between Beckham and Humphrey. Beckham threw a right-handed punch on his rival's helmet during a Browns screen play and Humphrey responded by putting OBJ on his back and choking him with both hands.
On that play, four personal fouls were called -- two on each team -- which offset, but there were no ejections.
LATEST ANALYSIS ▶ Grading 2018 QB class in Year 2 ▶ Why Mahomes will hit 6k mark in '19 ▶ Can Giants' Jones be rattled? ▶ Week 4 bold predictions ▶ Week 4 game picks "We didn't see anything on the field that rose to the level of a disqualifying foul," referee Shawn Hochuli explained after the game, per ESPN. "When New York looked at it, they didn't see anything, either, that rose to the level of a qualifying foul."
Beckham, who had a career-low of two catches for 20 yards on the day, was frustrated plenty by the Ravens.
"It's hot out there. We're just competing," Beckham said about the incident. "I'm just upset that I lost my earring."
A few plays beforehand, Humphrey was forcibly pulled to the ground by Beckham and the corner queried Hochuli about the lack of a penalty.
"It's not really the brand of football I want to represent," said Humphrey, who apologized to Beckham post-game. "The whistle blowed. It has to be over with."
Was there an apology from Beckham?
"I don't think he did," said Humphrey. "But I definitely told the refs he should've been ejected. It is what it is. Emotions flare."
As if Browns-Ravens wasn't already a heated AFC North rivalry, Beckham vs. Humphrey will be something to keep an eye on in Cleveland when the teams square off in Week 16.
LATEST ANALYSIS ▶ Grading 2018 QB class in Year 2 ▶ Why Mahomes will hit 6k mark in '19 ▶ Can Giants' Jones be rattled? ▶ Week 4 bold predictions ▶ Week 4 game picks "All the guys put a body on a body. They also kind of stopped Von and Chubb; those are two good athletes and they did a great job handling those two guys," Fournette said of his O-line.
After dealing with a nagging hamstring injury over the past year, Fournette was due for a big day, and Week 4 was that moment. So, what exactly lead to his huge game? Fournette has an idea.
"The O-linemen had a dinner Thursday and [Brandon Linder] and everybody else was like 'We're going to get you there this week' and I believed in them," Fournette said. "I think little things like that, just bonding outside of football, going to lunches with each other. That's part of timing, too. We're getting the trust back."
Who knew food would be the thing that re-connected the two sides? Whatever the case, it looks like it would be of everyone's best interests to make sure Fournette shares a meal or two with the big guys leading into games, if it produces these types of results.